Categoria: 23 ESPN

Achille Schiavone (1) and Annelisse Castillo (2)
1 - Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie - University of Turin (Italy). L.go Paolo Braccini 2; 10095
Grugliasco (TO) - University of Turin (Italy) 
2 - Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie - University of Pisa (Italy). V.le delle Piagge 2; 56124 Pisa (Italy)
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The consumer’s demand for animal products still increases, and further increase is expected determined by the global population growth, therefore the food industry and the farmers face a great challenge (Avendaño, Sánchez, and Valenzuela 2020; WHO 2007; Govorushko 2019). Different aspects of the productive chain need to be further optimised and improved, since the consumer becomes more demanding and selective too. The increase production of animal origin foods generates a huge pressure in the environment, the water sources, and the biodiversity, with consequential climate changes (Avendaño, Sánchez, and Valenzuela 2020).

The major cost in a farm production cycle is represented by the feed, for instance in broilers, around 60 % of cost engravement is due to the feed needed to produce 1 kg of meat (Centro Ricerche Produzioni Animali, 2011). Besides, the feed ingredients used and how these are processed engrave not only the monetary aspect, but also the bird’s performance (Avendaño, Sánchez, and Valenzuela 2020). High protein components are necessary for the bird’s growth and for a high productivity (Sverguzova et al. 2021). Plant proteins represent the main supply source, and soybean meal is the most used in the poultry feed industry, mainly due to a balanced profile in essential amino acids (Beski, Swick, and Iji 2015; Ravindran 2013). However, this is not the rule in other plant sources, which in most cases lack a balanced essential amino acids profile. Contrarily, proteins of animal origin offer a high biological value protein, even if these are often more expensive (Saima et al. 2008; Beski, Swick, and Iji 2015). The resources needed to produce conventional protein feedstuffs are considerable, becoming economically unsustainable (Gasco et al. 2019), therefore new strategies and feedstuffs are being studied and progressively becoming more tested and adopted (Avendaño, Sánchez, and Valenzuela 2020; Bellezza Oddon et al. 2021; Colombino et al. 2021). The use of insects in poultry feed has received huge interest as a potential solution to improve sustainability of poultry diets. Insects are proficient in converting agricultural and biological residues in high qualitative nutrients, reducing drastically gas emissions and waste mass (Avendaño, Sánchez, and Valenzuela 2020; T. Veldkamp et al. 2022). Insects are high in protein and fat content, and provide other nutrients like macro and micro minerals, vitamins, etc. Insects contain bioactive compounds such as antimicrobial peptides, fatty acids, and polysaccharides, which might give protection against oxidative tissue damage and defend against microbial threats (Veldkamp et al. 2022). A wide range of insects are potential candidates as protein source, and the most studied and used insects in poultry feeding are the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), common housefly (Musca domestica) and mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) (Avendaño, Sánchez, and Valenzuela 2020). Insects are also versatile, being offered in different forms as meals, oils, dehydrated or live larvae (Veldkamp and van Niekerk 2019; Gasco et al. 2019).

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